Since writing that I won’t vote on May 2, I’ve received responses — online and off — from conscientious people encouraging me to change my mind. Some, though, agree and also vow to remain on the sidelines. For all of those candidates, reporters, Elections Canada officials and dutybound citizens desperately searching for ways to get us interested in this election, here are five things that might shift our position and lead us to the polls.
1. Guarantee my Groupon. You can keep the half off the bowling in north Oshawa, but I’ve had it with missing out on two-for-one dinners at Loire and Pearl. Have those deals ready for me at the polling station, and I’m there. Might even vote twice if you did that.
2. Dunk tank. Cast a ballot, get the chance to dunk Justin Bieber. You want to get the youth vote out? There’s your answer.
3. Give Winnipeg an NHL team already. For the love of Hawerchuk would somebody give these people their Jets back! The pleading and agony is too much. All they want is the chance to lose to Edmonton or Calgary every Saturday night in perpetuity. If we all vote can someone make sure Gary Bettman eases their pain? (One condition: The Weakerthans’ “One Great City!” has to be played along with the national anthems before games at the MTS Centre.)
4. Promise to lay off the guilt. Yeah, people in Tahrir Square died for democracy. Yeah, kids in other parts of Africa would die (and have died) for rights we take for granted. But let’s talk about our reality, which is our national parties that don’t inspire us and our leaders who want our vote simply to stick it to their opponent. Oh, and by the way, when we did turn out in decent numbers in the ’80s and ’90s, we ended up with two of the most corrupt Canadian governments in history (Mulroney’s Conservatives and Chretiens’ Liberals). So voting may not be the answer to our political troubles. Not voting? En masse? Wonder what kind of wake-up call that might send.
5. Pay me. In Australia, voting is compulsory and you’re fined $85 if you don’t show up to the polls. I advocate for a similar approach, but rather than a fine, why not cut the salaries of Members of Parliament by 10 percent each time there’s an election and dole that money out to people who vote? That would drop each MP’s salary from $157,738 (yeah, if you didn’t know, that’s how much they make and they get $25,500 in annual expenses on top of that and not one of them is bringing it up during the campaign, but we’re supposed to rush to the polls for these people?) down to $141,964.10. Take the $15,773.80 you cut, multiple it by 308 (number of seats in Parliament) and you have $4,858,330.40 to dole out. Halve that expense budget of theirs to $12,750 each and you’ve got an additional $3,927,000 in savings to give back to voters. That’s a total of $8,785,330.40, which would only equate to about 50 cents per voter if we got more than 17 million to the polls (in 2008, just under 14 million showed). But it would send a message, don’t you think? And if we cut their salary every time they put us through this process, it might stop them from wasting money on needless elections every two or three years. Maybe.
What about you? Got a list of what will make you turn out? Share it.
More 2011 Canadian Election News
Election Debate winners and losers
5 reasons not to vote for Stephen Harper
5 reasons not to vote for Michael Ignatieff
5 reasons not to vote for Jack Layton
Why I won’t vote on May 2